4 Leadership Lessons from Kenya’s Election Conundrum

4 Ways to Enhance Your Productivity and Effectiveness in Purpose Pursuit (Part 2)
October 8, 2017
Why Great Presidents are Not Our Answer
October 10, 2017

4 Leadership Lessons from Kenya’s Election Conundrum


eing a Kenyan, I have watched with intrigue matters unfolding in our election year. Immediately after the 2017 election results were declared null and void, two major schools of thought came strongly to the fore in the country. Each group of course interprets the happenings through their biases of tribal affiliations. Leadership of the great country was and still is at stake.

The Election Bias

I tried to engage with some Kenyans on social media and I simply gave up. No matter how straight forward a matter would be, no matter how obvious a truth would be, some people could not just get to see it especially if the truth seemed to favor “the other side”. I have engaged with learned people with Degrees but their reasoning capacity changed to that of a 7 year old, due to the bias I talked about. To them, their solution in leadership was and will always be their “candidate” no matter how truths spell themselves.

Eventually, I gave up these engagements and “discussions” on social media altogether. It was an emotional roller coaster. Frankly, I was gaining nothing from the debates and no matter how much I tried to reason with a “Brother” or a “Sister” who was steeped in bias of their presidential candidate, I was not making headway.

Leadership World-Wide

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to elections, it is not just Kenya that “shuts down”. It is not just Kenya that turns into factions with the population referring to each other as “Us” and “them”. It is not just in Kenya that security is heightened and economic growth comes to a standstill.

Why do you think that is so? And may I predict that this scenario will never ever change. Some people in the United States are waiting with bated breath for Donald Trump’s tenure to elapse. According to them, true leadership is through their “man” or “woman”. The same scenario is what the Syrians are facing. Virtually, in every country where there is a human being Leadership remains they key determinant of either progress or retrogression.

In the neighboring Uganda, violence erupted in Parliament when there was a bid to amend the constitution in order to do away with “Age Limits” on the Presidency. Leadership seems to be the most thorny issue especially when it comes to national matters.

Humanity’s Greatest Loss

Ladies and gentlemen, the reason why this situation will keep going on is because the greatest loss of humanity is Leadership, not even morals. The very first thing that we as a human race lost was our capacity to lead. As I have discussed in the previous posts, our purpose on earth is to be effective and productive. For that to happen, we were given a sole leadership mandate to govern, subdue and have dominion. The program of leadership for mankind is called “Dominion”.

Looking at the Kenyan situation, there are several things that I would like us to learn from the drama that keeps unfolding.

1. Man’s Greatest Problem is Leadership

Slums? Leadership

Anarchy? Leadership

Economic stagnation? Leadership

Teenage Pregnancies? Leadership

Poverty? Leadership

Even those things that you blame the devil for, if you look at it carefully, the root cause of the matter is leadership or lack of it! Our greatest problem in all circles of our existence is leadership. Leadership expert and guru Dr. John Maxwell has famously said that:

Everything rises and falls on leadership”

The issues we are facing in Kenya as a country currently are leadership issues. There is sectarianism, tribalism, selfish ambition and cronyism that have superseded the need for authentic leadership. No matter how you want to look at the situation in the country, our greatest problem as Kenyans (and by extension all human beings) is and always will be leadership.

2. The Sole Solution to All of Man’s Issues is Leadership

It is leadership that got us into the mess we are in in Kenya and it is leadership that will take us out of it. People think that the solution is fixing the constitution. Others think that the solution is police brutality. In fact some have this notion that the demise of Raila Odinga will be the solution. I have followed Kenya’s politics from the time we transitioned from dictatorship to multiparty politics. The whole country was so elated when the third president of the country ascended to the helm. We thought that all our problems will cease. That president started by providing Universal Primary Education for all children in primary schools. However, just few months into the helm, Kenyans became disillusioned. Much as we experienced unprecedented economic and infrastructural development, individual lives were still disillusioned, at least for those that thought the government was the direct solution to their conundrum. Those people are right, but perhaps they are looking at the wrong type of leadership as the solution.

3. The Most Effective Leadership is based on Purpose

The reason why we have strong opinions and sectarianism in the country is because we think that “our man” is the most effective one. We see “our man” as the solution to our ‘personal problems’. The truth of the matter is that as long as “our man” does not lead as if he was born and called to, that leadership will not be effective. IN other words, if purpose is not embedded in the individual leader’s heart, no matter how much we think they are good, they will still disappoint. Leadership to me is the highest opportunity to serve. So when I hear a president bragging to the effect, “I am the one who is occupying that seat regardless of what they think”, my heart just breaks. Leadership is not an issue of titles and positions, you do not need to remind people that you are a leader. It is about serving people and making lives better. If your leadership is not embedded in purpose, it will be very ineffective.

4. Self Leadership is The Greatest Solution

Did you realize that nothing changes in terms of your net-worth, income, financial reserves, savings, investments, personal development, growth, physical vitality and health if you do nothing about it? In other words, your candidate might win one way or another, but it will not directly affect you. Yes, the solution that you are greatly looking for is leadership. However, I am here to tell you that it is not the leadership of Raila or Uhuru, Trump or Hillary that makes the difference. Self leadership is the greatest form of leadership that will deliver you. Yes, you have to go and vote and probably participate in a demonstration incase a tyrant regime wants to erode the gains you have had, but where the rubber meets the road is when you lead yourself. Tell me, does the President have any direct impact on your mental growth? Will he buy you a book or pay for your school fees? Will the President help improve the romance you have with your wife? Will the President help you raise purpose-driven children? Will the President increase your streams of income? We all know that that is not going to happen no matter who the president is!

Therefore, in the next article we shall take time to talk more about this Self Leadership. However in summary, let me say this:

  • Kenyans, you are right to be concerned about the leadership of the country
  • Your greatest solution in Kenya is and always will be leadership
  • However, this leadership is not presidential but self
  • Consider paying the price of being on the helm of leadership in your life as compared to paying the price of “our man” to be President. That is where the rubber meets the road.